a chilly florida friday

by grace on March 22, 2020

life update: still coughing. last night i took some of amy’s codeine cough syrup after waking up and coughing for about an hour. and it totally worked! i have enough to last me 7-8 night, and hopefully the nighttime coughing will be gone? otherwise i’ll have to go to Priority Care to get some more and i don’t really want to be around all those sick people.

also it’s dark and snowing this Sunday march morning. maybe it’ll be the last snow of the spring. we can always hope.

back to friday morning, feb. 21st at our house in tampa. it was chilly so we sat on the bench to eat breakfast.

I don’t recall having a plan for friday, especially because it was in the 50s and incredibly windy . we decided we’d go to lunch at a place called Ulele that got great reviews. It wasn’t far from a museum I found called the Henry B. Plant Museum, on the campus of the University of Tampa.

We drove down to Ulele and found a parking spot nearby but then I noticed a big building that looked kind of interesting and people were going in and out, so we decided to check it out.

turns out it’s the the Armature, a hip new space full of many restaurants and a few stalling stuff. the main section is like a modern giant food court, plus they have a few sit-down restaurants and meeting spaces and stuff. It used to be a streetcar warehouse/repair place, and it was quite cool.

It was crowded and i kept announcing that must have been because it was sunday…but a woman at one of the booths pointed out that it wasn’t sunday, it was friday. a server at the place where we got some fantastic pizza said it wasn’t even very crowded right then. It seemed so crowded to me. here’s a very brief video so you can hear how loud it is.

After our delicious pizza we headed to the Henry B. Plant Museum/

Here’s a little bit of the history of the museum. It used to be a huge and spectacular hotel built by Henry Plant in 1891. The link has more info about Plant’s busy life. It seems sad to me that he built this palatial hotel in 1891 and died only eight years later.

During the 1880’s, Henry Bradley Plant was building an empire of railroads, steamships and hotels. He wanted that empire to have a palace and that palace was the Tampa Bay Hotel. The hotel was built by Plant personally, not investors, at a cost of $2,500,000 and an additional $500,000 for furnishings. It took two years to build, covered 6 acres and was 1/4 mile long. Its 511 rooms were among the first in Florida to be completely electric. Advertised as completely fire proof, the building contained poured concrete reinforced with rails and cables in between floors. The building had all of the latest luxuries including a billiard room, barbershop, shoeshine service, beauty shop, flower shop, telegraph office, formal dining room, Grand Salon, Music Room with orchestra, and telephones in all guest rooms.

I also find it sad that even though the building remains, most of it has been incorporated into the university and the relatively small museum is relegated to the first floor. I think about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI, and the fact that it’s still going strong (well it’s still open anyway, but the spring opening will undoubtedly be postponed for who knows how long. Plus what about the whole of Mackinac Island, whose business is almost entirely the tourist trade? Worrisome.)

Sprinkled around the museum were these little notes from etiquette books in the 1890s.

I always like a swan.

And there was an even bigger one in a dining room. There was an audio guide to many of the rooms even though it’s such a small and kind of obscure museum.

Because it was February they had old Valentines on display. So beautiful.

In one room were many of the plant stands and containers that the Plants bought on their massive shopping spree abroad.

These two plant stands were my favorites. Dad would have like them.

I’d like to have a couple of these gorgeous mirrors.

In the fanciest rooms you could get a piano brought in and if you didn’t know how to play the piano somebody would come and play it for you. Deluxe.

This mantle clock is almost identical to the one we have on our mantle.

I do have more photos of the place, soon to appear here.

ok then,

g.

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